Papers of John Adams, volume 18

From Richard O’Bryen

To John Jay

From John Adams to John Jay, 30 July 1786 Adams, John Jay, John
To John Jay
Dear Sir London July 30. 1786

I have received, the Letter you did me, the Honour to write me, on the Sixth of June, with the Ratification of the Treaty with Prussia. As the Term limited, is near expiring, I Shall go over to Holland or Send Col Smith, to make the Exchange1

Mr Penn, a Member of the House of Commons, whose Character is well known in America and in England as a Steady Friend, to our Country will be the Bearer of this, and will be able to acquaint you with the present Disposition of this Court and Nation, and I believe his Information altho a British Subject and Senator will not be materially different from mine.2

I cannot but lament from my inmost Soul, that Lust for Paper Money which appears in some Part of the United States: there will never be any Uniform Rule, if there is a Sense of Justice, nor any clear Credit public or private, nor any Settled Confidence in publick Men or Measures, untill Paper Money is done away.

It is a great Satisfaction to me, to learn that you have recd in my Letter of the fourth of March the Answer of this Court to the Memorial respecting the Posts. As that is a Dispatch of more importance than all others you have recd from me, I Shall be anxious to know your Sentiments upon it. You will not expect me to answer Lord Carmathens Letter,3 nor to take any further Steps concerning it untill I shall receive the Orders of Congress.

I wish for the Instructions of that August Body concerning a Requisition in their Name for the Negroes. Whether I am to demand Payment for them; at what Prices; and for what Number.

With great Regard I have the Honour / to be &c

John Adams

RC (PCC, No. 84, VI, f. 343–344); internal address: “Mr Secretary Jay.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 112.


For JA’s visit to the Netherlands, in part to exchange ratified copies of the Prussian-American treaty with the Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeier, see John Adams Visits the Netherlands, 3 Aug. – 6 Sept., Editorial Note, below.


Richard Penn (ca. 1734–1811), grandson of William Penn and former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, was elected to Parliament in 1784 from Appleby and served continuously for that constituency and others until 1806 (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons ). JA had met Penn when he attended the first Continental Congress in 1774 at Philadelphia. Although Penn did not support the American cause, he did have some sympathy for the American claims and was charged by Congress with carrying the 1775 Olive Branch Petition to England. Since arriving in England, JA had seen Penn numerous times. Penn reached New York City in mid-Sept. 1786, but nothing is known of his visit or whether he conferred with Jay (vol. 3:70–71; JA, D&A , 2:140, 151; 3:179; AFC , 7:13, 16, 21, 24; DAB ; Boston Independent Chronicle, 28 Sept.).


Of 28 Feb., above.